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UVU softball: date with Santa Clara precedes Grand Canyon series

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, April 10 2014 11:35 a.m. MDT

As its current seven-game home stand rolls on, the Utah Valley University softball team plays four games over the next three days at Wolverine Field when Santa Clara and Grand Canyon come to town. UVU begins the jam-packed stretch with a 3 p.m. MT meeting against SCU on Thursday before kicking off a three-game WAC series with GCU on Friday.

The Wolverines (11-23, 4-2 WAC) and Antelopes (19-17. 4-2 WAC) square off in a doubleheader Friday, beginning at 12 p.m. MT, and conclude the series with a single game Saturday, also starting at noon.

Members of the West Coast Conference, the Broncos of Santa Clara come into Thursday's game with a 5-22 record and most recently dropped a three-game WCC series to Pacific, 2-1. The Broncos grabbed a win in game one but fell in games two and three by scores of 8-6 and 7-3. After facing UVU, SCU will remain in the area for the weekend as it begins another conference series against BYU.

Stephanie Fisher leads the Broncos in batting average at .333, while Geenamarie Guillermo paces the squad with 20 RBIs. In the circle, Ciara Gonzales and Jessica Turner each own a team-high nine starts, holding ERAs of 3.42 and 5.18, respectively.

UVU and SCU met in a four-game series in Orem last year as both programs were members of the now defunct Pacific Coast Softball Conference. The Wolverines swept the series, outscoring the Broncos, 21-3, over four games.

Meanwhile, Utah Valley and Grand Canyon will be meeting for the first time in their respective histories when they get together for this weekend's WAC series. The 'Lopes own a 4-2 mark in conference and have won each of their first two conference series' — against Kansas City and Bakersfield — by 2-1 marks.

Stephanie Pesqueira has been GCU's go-to on offense and defense this season as the senior holds a 2.75 ERA and a 10-7 record in the circle. Her 10 wins currently lead the WAC, and she is the reigning conference Pitcher of the Week after going 2-0 with a 0.58 ERA and two walks in two complete game efforts last week. Meanwhile, Pesqueira also owns a team-high .341 batting average and has driven in nine RBIs with one home run.

"We know Pasqueira is going to bring it this week and we're looking forward to facing some good pitching," UVU head coach Nikki Palmer said. "We want to defend our home field and continue our good start in conference at home. We see an equal importance in every game we play, but we always want to take advantage of being at home, especially in a conference series."

Following the GCU series, Utah Valley returns to non-conference play when it hosts Utah for a doubleheader Monday and travels to face Idaho State on Tuesday. Those games lead into another three-game WAC series at Kansas City beginning Friday, April 18.

Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.